DOJ Says Pentagon Isn’t Properly Protecting Whistleblowers

A recently disclosed government report titled A Review of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s Process for Handling Military Whistleblower Reprisal Allegations shows that because of insufficient resources, a lack of training for investigators, and a number of other problems, MRI—the system in the Defense Department that has been set up to investigate cases of retaliation against military whistleblowers—”has not been able to come close to resolving complaints within the statutory 180-day deadline.”

POGO—the Project on Government Oversight—obtained a copy of the 2009 report, which was written by the office of the Justice Department Inspector General. In a statement, POGO’s director of investigations Nick Schwellenbach said the following: “The Wikileaks experience is a reminder that there should be safe harbors inside the government for military personnel to blow the whistle. We are glad to see the DOD IG added resources into this essential program, but this is a problem that can’t be fixed just by throwing money at it – the laws need to be strengthened.”

The report found that MRI “has not had a high profile within the DOD OIG.” In addition, the report states that “MRI should do more to ensure that cases delegated to the service IGs are assigned for investigation outside the chain of command of the involved parties.”

According to the Defense Department IG’s March 2010 semi-annual report to Congress, the department has made “significant progress in implementing the recommendations” made in the 2009 government report.

 For Further Reading

From POGO: National Security Whistleblowers Push for Passage of Whistleblower Protection Act, November 22, 2010 (An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman John Boehner, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Harry Reid)

From POGO: Leaked Assessment Says Deficiencies Have Plagued the Military Whistleblower System

Source: TPMMuckraker

– Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

20 thoughts on “DOJ Says Pentagon Isn’t Properly Protecting Whistleblowers”

  1. IPA Institute for Public Acccuracy

    News Release

    Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

    December 7, 2010

    “The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.”

  2. Karl Friedrich



    Karl, Thanks for posting the counterpunch link. The following is absolutely true in America in 2010. Just how one is destroyed depends on one’s level of vulnerability. From by perspective, those in power will do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes.

    “Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed.” -Chris Floyd


    begin excerpt

    WikiLeaks will doubtless try to struggle on. And Assange says he has given the entire diplomatic trove to 100,000 people. By dribs and drabs, shards of truth will get out. But the world’s journalists – and those persons of conscience working in the world’s governments – have been given a hard, harsh, unmistakable lesson in the new realities of our degraded time. Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed. No institution, public or private, will stand with you; the most powerful entities, public and private, will be arrayed against you, backed up by overwhelming violent force. This is where we are now. This is what we are now.

    Chris Floyd (London) is an American writer and frequent contributor to CounterPunch.

    end excerpt

    Truer words…

  3. Jill,

    I’m inclined to agree. The only bright spot was it was not dismissed with prejudice. While that may be simple political CYA on Judge Bates part, legally speaking it means the matter is not dead (no pun intended).

  4. BIL,

    When I heard Koh speak he said the court would rule that the father would have no standing and that assassinations were literally extra-judicial. He meant they were administrative decisions and were not open for court review. He also did not limit murder to citizens living overseas but spoke of pursuing “terrorists” (as solely defined by the executive who is now infallible) for murder wherever they were–end of story.

    He said in such a way that I did think the fix was in with the judge. This legal theory has no basis in our law, but he was certain the ruling would be exactly as it was. We do not have an independent judiciary.

  5. Listen to this bull shit from a man who knew well that Cheney and Bush ordered torture and began a war under false pretense: “Mike Mukasey, George Bush’s last attorney general, appeared on the BBC tonight to join the chorus threatening action against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. The Guardian’s Owen Bowcott reports:

    The former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey last night said that US lawyers should try and extradite Assange to the United States for betraying government secrets. “If I was still in charge there would have been an investigation,” he told BBC Newsnight, “it would have been done promptly.

    “This is a crime of a very high order. Julian Assange has been leaking this information. He came into possession of it knowing that it was harmful.”

    Mukasey also implied that the Swedish sex accusations may only be holding charge. “When one is accused of a very serious crime it’s common to hold him in respect of a lesser crime … while you assemble evidence of a second crime.”

    Once again, Mukasey doesn’t say exactly what US law either WikiLeaks or Assange has broken. But if he’s right then we will find out soon enough.” (The Guardian)

  6. Only slightly OT – in re assassination without due process:

    “‘How is it that judicial approval is required when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for electronic surveillance, but . . . judicial scrutiny is prohibited when the United States decides to target a U.S. citizen overseas for death?’

    That’s just one of many intriguing questions raised — but not answered — by the D.C. District Court today in its decision dismissing the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a challenge to the government’s authorization to kill a U.S. citizen allegedly tied to Al Qaeda overseas. Ultimately, the court won’t answer any of these critical questions because it decided that Al-Awlaki’s father lacks standing to sue, since he’s not directly harmed by the U.S. action.

    Significantly, though, Judge John Bates did not dismiss the case on the merits. Instead, he went out of his way to write that the case raises important legal questions regarding whether the government can target its own citizen for death in a foreign country without so much as a hearing to determine that he’s done anything wrong.

    Anwar al-Awlaki is a dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen and Muslim cleric with alleged ties to al Qaeda. Known for his inflammatory statements calling for “jihad against the West,” he was reportedly added to a U.S. hit list after the government came to believe that he provided instructions to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to set off a bomb on a flight bound for Detroit last Christmas.

    Even though today’s decision means the courts likely won’t decide whether Awlaki is a lawful target, the questions raised by this case, brought by the ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights, still cry out for answers.

    ‘This is a unique and extraordinary case,’ wrote District Court Judge John Bates in his 83-page opinion, presenting ‘fundamental questions of separation of powers involving the proper role of the courts in our constitutional structure.’

    Among the ‘stark’ and ‘perplexing’ questions raised are, according to Judge Bates:

    ‘Can the Executive order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?’

    ‘And how does the evolving [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] relate to core al Qaeda for purposes of assessing the legality of targeting AQAP (or its principals) under the September 18, 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force?’

    In particular, under what circumstances is the U.S. government allowed to target for death an individual suspected of participating in terrorism in a foreign country where we are not actively engaged in a war? Whether or not he’s a U.S. citizen, what role does that person have to be playing to become a legitimate military target for the United States? And is it legitimate to kill people under the laws of war if they are part of an organization that did not exist when we declared war?”

    Read the rest here.

    Of course, Emperor Obama promises to only use his dictatorial powers for good in the mean time.

  7. Jill

    Your comments at 1:09 pm are excellent.

    Like Ron Paul says “In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. When truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.”

  8. I haven’t keep up with the law or regulations regarding the whistleblower program in DOD for 15-20 years. When I had to do so though, my job quickly became advising people not to use the whistleblower program because it was overwhelmingly stacked in the favor of the agency. Being a whistleblower and using the DoD program was a good way to get fired and once fired an appeal of that firing had to proceed with deference to the whistleblower program.

    A threshold issue in whatever appeal process was used would become ‘was the employee a valid whistleblower’. The process to become recognized as a valid whistleblower was so complex and fraught with technical ‘traps’ that it was nearly impossible to do so. It was designed to be a bad program and apparently hasn’t gotten any better since then.

  9. Marty,

    “Actually the Pentagon is working with their Psy soldiers in the field in trying to either harm or exterminate the Whistleblowers. Proof and evidence will surface soon.”

    The first part of your statement is true and “Psy” soldiers is an apt descrtiption. Regarding your last statement, is there anything else that you could add? How do you know that proof and evidence will surface soon?

  10. As if the DOJ or anyone in government really cares. Our system is so corrupt. Look at our current President who campaigned for “change”, there is no change. Everything for banks, millionaires, billionaires, wars, let’s arrest or assassinate Julian Assange, but leave all those corrupt bankers in their jobs. And how about what’s going on in the Gulf of Mexico?!! It’s shameful how the gov’t. is covering for BP. etc., etc., etc…. meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how I can drop out of the globalization and join locals in my area to build local a local economy. Not driving or buying very much, being very careful about my choices these days. Every choice is political.

  11. Actually the Pentagon is working with their Psy soldiers in the field in trying to either harm or exterminate the Whistleblowers. Proof and evidence will surface soon.

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

  12. Meanwhile, the US may continue to murder at will: “A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the father of Yemeni-American Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki challenging the US government’s controversial targeted-killing programme.

    In a ruling issued on Tuesday, John Bates, the US district judge, said the father’s suit seeking to block Barack Obama, the US president, from ordering the extrajudicial killing of his son “lacks standing”.

    Bates also said “his claims are non-justiciable,” or incapable of being settled by a court, requiring dismissal of the case.

    “The serious issues regarding the merits of the alleged authorisation of the targeted killing of a US citizen overseas must await another day or another [non-judicial] forum,” Bates concluded in his 83-page ruling.

    The lawsuit was filed by civil liberties groups on behalf of al-Awlaki, a US citizen who joined al-Qaeda in Yemen and has been tied to plots against the United States.

    Obama administration officials have refused to officially confirm that the “capture or kill” programme exists against Awlaki, although US officials have said the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been given the green light to assassinate him, or to bring him to justice.” (al jazeera)

    Clearly the govt. of the US is lawless and out of control. It is spying on everyone and it will kill people who get in its way–no problem. This is one scary group of people. They have made themselves Gods so they can act like monsters.

  13. How about the DOJ actually following domestic law and International law by investigating and prosecuting those who authorized and designed and carried out torture of detainees? I care about whistle blowers, but why isn’t this one of your “lines in the sand”, Mr. President?

  14. “The govt. has made clear they will crucify anyone who dares speak up.” -Jill

    Don’t I know it…

    And regarding Philip Crowley announcement that “The United States is pleased to announce that it will host Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from 1-3 May in Washington, DC”, I felt nauseous when I read it. I’m literally feeling nauseous…

    Thanks for that Jill — all of it… and as you’ve said, “We are a totalitarian state. It’s rule of fiat all the way.”

    And Secretary Gates is predictably pleased with the arrest of Julian Assange:

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE, CONNOLLY, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday applauded the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, whose Web site has released hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents and become a scourge of the Pentagon.
    Told of Mr. Assange’s arrest by reporters traveling with him on a trip to Afghanistan, Mr. Gates said, “I hadn’t heard that, but that sounds like good news to me.”

  15. This was just sent out by the State Dept. (find all at the Guardian) “With perfect timing an email arrives from Philip Crowley at the state department:

    The United States is pleased to announce that it will host Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from 1-3 May in Washington, DC.

    Ironic? Read the next paragraph from the press release:

    The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and
    innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.”

    If I wanted to tell the truth, the last place I’d go to is anyone in the US govt. The govt. has made clear they will crucify anyone who dares speak up. Soldiers who have spoken up about torture have been beaten and gotten death threats. Most whistleblowers have been arrested and convicted. So, no, the govt. isn’t protecting anyone, in the govt. or without it for being a whistleblower. If you want to escape prosecution from Obama’s DOJ you need to commit murder and/or torture and be in the “in” group. P.S. Being in the “in” group does mean you can out undercover CIA operatives. We are a totalitarian state. It’s rule of fiat all the way.

  16. This is just unfortunate….very….Would Assange have been an outlet if the Pfc could have gone through the correct channels of command…..

    But then again, would Fidel Castro go back to Cuba if he had not gotten cut from the Washington Senators in I think 1954? Would the world be different…..

  17. The DOJ doesn’t protect Americans from injustice, why should anyone else in government?

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